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3 Benefits of Having (and Using) a Design System

A UI/UX design system is a set of guidelines, principles, and components that define the visual and interactive elements of a product’s user interface. It provides a consistent and cohesive experience for users, regardless of the platform or device they are using.

In terms of collaboration and productivity within product design teams, a design system plays a crucial role. It establishes a shared language and framework for designers, developers, and stakeholders to work together effectively. Here are 3 ways how it can improve collaboration and productivity:

1. Consistency

A design system ensures consistency in the user interface across different products and platforms. It defines standardized components, typography, color schemes, and interaction patterns. This consistency reduces confusion among team members and improves communication.

For example, when designing the MTN Ayoba messaging app, I created both the brand guide and a design system that included details on logo usage, directions on how to use the various design elements, consistent button styles, typography, and color scheme. This allowed the development team to implement new features seamlessly while maintaining a cohesive user experience – this is vital, especially for a fast scaling app with over 20,000,000 MAUs (Monthly Active Users).

2. Efficiency

With a design system in place, designers don’t need to start from scratch for every new project. They can reuse existing components and design patterns, saving time and effort. This efficiency enables faster iteration and prototyping, leading to quicker product development cycles.

When designing the MTN MusicTime app, I leveraged the existing design system to create a visually appealing and intuitive interface for browsing and streaming music. The use of reusable components not only accelerated the design process but also ensured a consistent look and feel across the app. Eventually, due to the immense success of the ayoba app, MusicTime ceased to be a stand-alone app and I had the opportunity to work on integrating MusicTime into the ayoba app as its music feature. This process required a significant redesign of the existing design system for MusicTime to seamlessly integrate with the overall aesthetic and user experience of the ayoba app.

3. Scalability

As the user base grows and new features are added, maintaining a scalable design becomes challenging. A design system provides a scalable foundation that accommodates future growth and enhancements. It allows for easy updates and modifications without compromising the overall user experience.

For instance, when designing the Novelship marketplace, a platform for buying and selling luxury fashion, I developed a design system that could handle the increasing complexity of the app as it scaled from a Singapore-focused platform to focusing on the whole of South-East Asia. The design system allowed the team to efficiently introduce new features and adapt to user feedback while maintaining a seamless user experience.

Overall, a UI/UX design system fosters collaboration by providing a common language and framework for product design teams. It improves productivity by streamlining the design process, promoting consistency, and ensuring scalability.

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